Formatting fiasco

Went through 45 min of frustrating attempts to format and external SSD 1 TB drive.
Had 2 volumes on the drive-one was Mojave the other of files. Mojave 800+ GB-The Files 200GB. Erased the files-then tried to format for 2 new partitions, eliminating the Mojave volume as well-no matter what I did in High Sierra I always had this volume of 200GB (free space) that I could not eliminate. I could make it larger-but could not even title it. Went to El Capitan which was before the APSF and still could not do it. I could partition with 500GB each- but one was unavailable (so called free space again) and I soon learned I had 4 hidden volumes. WTF- Finally just went to Drive Genius and initialized the Drive for 2 partitions -1 Mojave and 1 Catalina. EZ peezy! in under 30 seconds. What am I not seeing here? Why was it so difficult- It’s done- but just want to understand how I could have done it immediately in the drive utility. thanks all.

Did you use the ERASE command on the drive itself? After using ERASE, then you can modify the partition set.

Alternatively, a Terminal command for diskutil will do as directed regardless of the current configuration of the drive. Here is an example which assumes you want to repartition disk3 into two HFS+ partitions:
sudo diskutil partitionDisk disk3 2 JHFS+ Mojave 800G JHFS+ Data 0B

Yes both partitions were erased. Could not partition. That was the problem. Could not initialize the drive.

If I understand you correctly, you erased the partitions, not the drive. Initializing the drive requires erasing the entire drive in one operation. To do this,

In Disk Utility, set View to Show All Devices and select the base device, such as APPLE SSD APO512M Media, as the object to be Erased.

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Thanks James- but you see that is not user friendly. I had no idea of Show All Items- definitely hidden under the File menu item. It should have been a tab or even under Edit or View menu items. And that still may not of helped to initialize the drive as I tried and still there was free space not available for anything.
Which is totally a misnomer- I mean what is Free Space if it can’t be used?

Can the ERASE command be used to erase only one partition without erasing the data in the other partitions? I am using an external drive.

I was using this partition to clone my OS using SuperDuper, but a recent macOS software upgrade seems to have done something to Permissions and that partition is no longer operational. The same thing happened with my TM drive and Apple sort of said there was an issue.